Tips and Tricks for Process Servers Process service does not always go as planned. If the intended recipient is aware
of the procedures surrounding process service, and does not want to be served,
the simple act of delivering papers can become a rather complicated cat and mouse
game. This is when the process server's skills will be tested. Presented here
are some tips and tricks that may work for you. Every situation is different,
and every jurisdiction is bound by its individual set of laws and regulations.
Be sure to check into the relevant laws in your area before using any of the suggestions
presented here, and always seek the advice of a qualified attorney before using
unusual methods of serving process.
Do Your Homework
It is important
to find out as much as you can about an intended recipient. You will need to find
his or her current address, employer, and daily routine. While it is generally
easiest to serve process at the recipient's home, this is not always practical
or even possible. Be sure not to violate any laws in your efforts, but try to
gain as much knowledge as is legally possible.
It can even be helpful to
obtain a description or photograph of the person to be served. Approaching with
confidence and addressing the person with familiarity is often better than uncertainly
approaching someone who may or not be the designated recipient.
Outside the Box
Your jurisdiction may not permit process service during
certain hours or days, or at certain locations. Within the limits of the law,
however, process service can happen in a surprising number of locations. Try to
find an unexpected location at which you can serve process. Catch the recipient
off guard if possible.
It is generally illegal to impersonate
anyone or use a disguise. However, it may be legal in your jurisdiction to use
props to give the suggestion of being someone else. A classic example is a pizza
box, though it is normally illegal to actually dress as a pizza delivery person
and almost universally illegal to claim to be such. It may also be possible to
order a pizza for the recipient and follow behind the delivery person. The laws
on the use of props and the line that may not be crossed vary drastically between
jurisdictions, so if you are considering using this method, be certain that you
are on the right side of the law. Check with your attorney!
In some jurisdictions, it is legal to enter a gated community or locked
apartment building if you receive the permission of someone who lives there. In
this case, you may be able to obtain permission to enter from a neighbor who happens
to be leaving. In some areas it is illegal for a co-worker to interfere with the
service of process. If you are serving process in such an area, you may be able
to enlist help to serve process at the person's place of business. Be sure that
you research the relevant laws to ensure that you are using a legal procedure.
Check with your attorney!
Serving process on someone who does not want
to be served can be complicated. However, by knowing the law and thinking quickly,
you may be able to outsmart the intended recipient. Remember to get legal advice
from an attorney if you have any doubts and always err on the side of caution.